A victim of homophobic violence claims a police officer tried to convince him not to file a report.
The man, who has asked not to be named, was leaving a Taylor Square nightclub about 10am 19 August when two men called him a “stupid poof”, told him he was “going to die” and hit him in the jaw.
He reported the incident to police at Taylor Square, one of whom allegedly told him not to press charges.
“The officer told me how stressful the court process would be and said, ‘Do you realise that nine out of 10 gay men don’t report incidents because they are afraid?’” he said.
“I said I wanted to press charges anyway, and they said, ‘The men are only going to get off free.’”
A spokesman for Surry Hills Local Area Command said a nightclub staff member informed police of the assault, and officers interviewed the victim and two other men in the area.
According to the police spokesman, the victim declined to supply further details, a claim which he has since denied. Police decided no further action was necessary.
The spokesman did not refute that an officer tried to convince him to drop the matter.
Two days later, the victim reported the incident to the coordinator of ACON’s Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project, Carl Harris, who spoke to police about their handling of the confrontation.
He later received a phone call from the officer he had spoken to after the assault. The officer allegedly told him the matter would be “thrown out of court anyway”.
“This time [they] said the men would get a letter from the doctor saying they weren’t in their capable mind because they were under the influence of drugs,” he said.
“[They] also told me that, when police interviewed the men, they said I sexually harassed them, which I completely deny.”
The victim offered to put the police in touch with witnesses who could support his claims, but they did not take up the offer.
He attended Surry Hills police station and asked to speak to a gay officer, but said he was instead accused of being discriminatory.
Harris said the overall police response was “pretty disappointing”.
“This is an extreme example, but there have been a few situations where people leave it to the next day to report homophobic violence to police because they are in hospital having their injuries attended to – but they have then been told it is too late to make a report.”
Harris said he would discuss the situation, as well as a number of other similar cases, with police at the Police Accountability Community Teams meeting this Thursday.
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